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by Lim Guan Eng
(Tebong, Saturday): Only a functioning democracy can ensure that Malaysians have a place under the Malaysian sun to have a right to study, a right to work with a fair wage, a right to live safely and have the government as a servant not as a master. Machap Demokrasi is the slogan for this by-election to focus the voters’ mind of the larger issues affecting them, their children and their country’s future and not be distracted by money politics.
The Machap by-election will determine whether BN is correct that voters suffer from short-term memory or are political beggars. BN believes that voters unhappiness with any outstanding issues or discriminatory government policies can be overcome with money of immediate solution to their problems only when there is a by-election. Machap voters must have the courage to show that we are not political beggars but citizens in a democracy that demands consultation, accountability and transparency in decision making.
The largest issue is still the future of our country. In celebrating our 50 th Merdeka anniversary, is the next 50 years going to be the same as the previous 50 revolving around race and religion. Or are we boldly going to move into the 21st century by discarding 20th century ideas of extremist ideology of racial and religious superiority and dominance? DAP proposes that we move into the 21st century with Bangsa Malaysia as opposed to BN’s 20th century concept of ketuanan Melayu.
Bangsa Malaysia “are people being able to identify themselves with the country, speak Bahasa Malaysia and accept the Constitution”. The Raja Muda of Perak recently said that Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians equally, and all have an equal right and responsibility to take ownership of their country and its future. Raja Nazrin Shah said that the integrity of the Federal Constitution to be defended and promoted.
Raja Nazrin expresses the aspirations of all Malaysians for a Malaysian race where we have an equal place under the Malaysian sun enjoying political equality, equal economic opportunity and social justice. Why should Malaysians who only see Malaysia as their home, speak Bahasa Malaysia and accept the Federal Constitution not be accepted as an equal?
All Malays, Indians and Chinese have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. The problems of Mat Rempits or high number of Indians in prisons or even many Chinese forced to leave their homes to find work (such as Machap with 2410 voters or 25% of the total electorate working outstation) are the result of misguided and failed government policies.
When Malaysians are treated as a political equal with the right to study, right to work, right to live safely free from crime and the right to be treated as the bosses and not as a servant, then only can we expect our problems to be resolved as and when they arise. And not to hope for a by-election which may happen only once every 50 or even 100 years.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP